ZTE exec teases impending smartwatch launch, stronger focus on smartphone market

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: November 17, 2013

ZTE Grand S

Looks like the list of device makers that are working on a smartwatch is growing once again. ZTE executive vice president He Shiyou has revealed to the Financial Times that his company has been researching wearable technology and that it plans to release smartwatches "as early as the first quarter." He added that ZTE is also looking into its own connected glasses but that those devices will take longer to develop and reach the market.

In addition to touching on ZTE's plans for the wearable tech space, He touched a bit on his firm's other future business and hardware plans. For example, He teased that ZTE is considering making some acquisitions or mergers in an effort to grow its market share and become one of the top few manufacturers in the industry. He didn't name any of ZTE's potential targets.

He also said that ZTE is planning to focus more on smartphones than feature phones going forward, with about 70 percent of its shipments for the next year consisting of smartphones. An effort to grow its brand recognition with Western consumers is also on ZTE's agenda, which the company plans to accomplish through better distribution, sponsorships and advertising. Finally, He said that ZTE will be rolling out more Windows Phone hardware in the future following reassurances from Microsoft that despite its purchase of Nokia, it wants to include a wide variety of manufacturers in the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Sounds like ZTE's got some big plans for the next few years, no? In the U.S., the company has traditionally been associated with lower-end smartphones that occasionally get rebranded for a particular carrier, but it did recently begin selling the mid to high-end Grand S and Nubia to U.S. consumers through Amazon. Most of the details of ZTE's plans to grow its brand going forward are still up in the air, but with He's teases of an impending smartwatch release and a bigger focus on the smartphone market, it may be a good idea to keep an eye on the Chinese device maker over the next year or so.

Via Financial Times